MONTHLY CAB INDUSTRY TIPS

Monthly Industry Tip

April 07, 2022

Changing Out Winter Tires

Spring is here and now is a good time to think about switching out your winter tires. Winter tires are designed to perform best on ice and snow, not when the asphalt is hot from the sun. It’s not only unsafe, but it will also cost you money because the winter tires will degrade faster. Therefore, it’s imperative to change back to your normal tires at the right time.

It is recommended to switch out your winter tires when it is consistently above 7 degrees.

 

A translated version is available in the following languages:

Amharic  Arabic  Hindi

Punjabi   Somali  Urdu

 

POLITICICIANS ARE ASKING JUST WHAT FARE IS FARE FOR CABBIES AND RIDERS

Calgary: March 26, 2022 

Consumers vs taxis—a contest between the rising  taxi operating costs that push fares to unaffordable levels for most riders, particularly the disabled and elderly is a source of angst for everyone.

City politicians notably Ward 7 Councillor Terry Wong, Ward 5 Councillor Raj Dhaliwal with Calgary McCall MLA Irfan Sabir and Minister of Transportation RajanJSaw.

Several oral presentations were given by drivers and Jeff Garland GM of Associated Cabs .

The general consensus among all of them the severe market fragmentation caused by the invasion of TNCs in 2016 and rising operating costs particularly fuel and insurance.

The forgoing led to my presentation as shown below:

RajanJSaw Transportation Minister

Several oral presentations were given by drivers and Jeff Garland GM of Associated Cabs .

The general consensus among all of them the severe market fragmentation caused by the invasion of TNCs in 2016 and rising operating costs particularly fuel and insurance.

The forgoing led to my presentation as shown below:

March 25, 2022

 Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is John Bliss whom many of you may remember from the course of my taxi driving career over the past 45 years here in Calgary.  I also drove taxis in Sault Ste. Marie and Winnipeg during the 1970s.  I retired in 2015 and took up journalism in an effort to dispel myths and disinformation flowing from the propaganda of UBER and the taxi brokers themselves.

A review of the ongoing taxi debate and current existences, particularly fuel, insurance, usurious stand rents, and customer concerns, I am now convinced that taxis, ride share operators, and consumers are better off with the city itself being solely responsible for the overall management and operation of the industry.

In other words, put all the taxi brokers right out to pasture and make Calgary Transit the only legal taxi-rideshare broker in the city.  And here’s why.

  • Drivers would become city employees receiving all benefits flowing from being a government employee, such as pensions, paid sick leave and income security and better pay.
  • New technology such as digital dispatching (ProCabby)  and voice dispatching (RedRoute) make the traditional brokers obsolete.
  • Overall stand rents, high license fees, and broker abuse would become a thing of the past. A small tax on each trip would finance Calgary Transit’s taxi-limousine operating budget and such a tax could even cover insurance costs.
  • The city would have better control over fleet sizing and vehicle demography as to wheelie vans, sedans, and luxury corporate sedans etc.
  • Cab fares can more easily be set to a level that accurately reflects the operating cost of a cab which unfortunately well over 50% for the riding public such as myself, cannot afford.                                                                       
  • The city can however subsidize each trip by issuing a taxi pass which would automatically calculating the customer’s share of the fare based on line 150 of his tax return.
  • Enhanced professionalism—an absolute must for the industry would be greatly improved by the City’s training program, particularly with geography and violence prevention as opposed to the dummed down training that put in its appearance with the onset of UBER who insisted on promoting the myth that drivers need no training since all they do is drive cars and GPS navigation makes city knowledge unnecessary.

UBER even has the temerity to say UBER driving is perfectly safe since you’d not be carrying any cash.  Would they please explain that to the grieving family of 30-year-old Kasif Hirani who was found dead not far from the Springbank Airport just couple of days after New Year’s Eve 2019.

UBER’s propaganda fails to mention that 90% of all cab violence is the result of other issue such as fare disputes, or targeting the car itself or sexual assault with money taken as an afterthought.

The truth is taxi and rideshare operators are more likely to die from occupational homicide than any other occupational group in the economy including peace officers and prison guards.

A city training program will offer knowledge on crime, violence prevention and how to handle criminals when they encounter them.

The forgoing points are many and too elaborate to discuss in detail, but the bottom line is to put the brokers right out to pasture once and for all with drivers making a real living with enhanced customer satisfaction.  The city must be the only legal broker in Calgary.

 

 

CITY OF CALGARY WANTS YOUR INPUT ON METER RATES SAFETY SERVICE QUALITY AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

To offer your two cents worth on the subject read The Livery Transportation Service bulletin below.

To make democracy work it’s critical that all citizens participate in all ongoing public debates.  Apathy means enslavement.

Livery Transport Services – Meter Rate Engagement 

BULLETIN #007

Meter Rate Discussions

2022 March 21

The City of Calgary is looking for feedback on what improvements can be made to support taxi drivers and ensure safety, service quality and consumer protection for all livery participants.

Livery Transport Services is holding in-person meetings with taxi drivers (at the LTS office) to discuss a possible taxi meter rate increase. If you would like to attend a session, please send an email to LTSEngagement@caIgary.ca and an appointment will be arranged.

A translated version is available in the following languages:

Amharic  Arabic   Hindi

Punjabi   Somali Urdu

Abdul Rafih

The Ottawa Standoff was Preventable

 

John Bliss
John Bliss

Before covid vaccinations became available, truckers, like soldiers in wartime, took the calculated risk of infection by transporting vital goods and food across the country and stateside.   Many truckers were casualties throughout 2020, and as such are our heroes.

As Justin Trudeau is undoubtedly aware, 90% of the truckers promptly got vaccinated as soon as possible.  He is also aware that the remaining 10% who for one reason or another, chose to continue working with the calculated risk of an already abating chance of infection and giving it to others.

All the foregoing leads to the next question: Given that the freight transportation system already in place was working rather well, why in blazes did the prime minister find it necessary to force truckers loaded with Canadian bound goods from the U.S. into two weeks of isolation and thereby reducing available trucks and cutting their meager incomes in half.

In other words, both U.S and Canadian governments chose to cut a trucker’s already meager income in half if he should dare carry a load across the border.

Forced isolation was the spark that ignited the truckers’ revolt and the Freedom Convoys crossing North America and elsewhere.  It is the product of a growing culture of elitism with society’s failing leadership of all political stripes.

For example, Ottawa’s cab drivers must cope with substantial broker’s fees and usurious insurance premiums notwithstanding the refusal of their brokers to allow their drivers to work.  The City of Ottawa — the same city locked down by the Freedom Bear Hug convoy, responded to their concerns with their usual big yawn and empathy as they listen to truckers honk their horns.

To end the Ottawa standoff, all the prime minister had to do was follow the example of the 14 year old King Richard ll who in June 1381 met with the peasants who were far more dangerous than today’s truckers, face to face and listen to them voice their concerns and proposals as that young King had done 600 years ago.  He even put in writing his acceptance of all the peasants’ proposals which are now in the British archives.

The establishment’s culture of elitism is the source of the current truckers’ uprising and that has got to change.

John Bliss©2022

IS RACISM ALIVE AND WELL IN CALGARY? YOU BET IT IS!

John Bliss

IS RACISM ALIVE AND WELL IN CALGARY? YOU BET IT IS: JUST ASK A CABBIE!            

Anyone including the White Anglo-Saxon males can easily be a victim of racism: Just ask my dearly departed grandfather.  Upon his arrival here in 1906 his employability was hampered by signs everywhere that read “Help Wanted: no Englishmen need apply”.

You might want to call that reverse discrimination—a common misnomer in face of the reality that there is no such thing as “reverse discrimination”.  It is pure discrimination and racism no matter the victim’s ethnic background. It is still racism.

Flash forward three generations and there I am driving a cab in pursuit of a college education.  After graduation, I began working in Alberta’s oilfields and quickly discovered an unbelievably shocking level of racism throughout Alberta.

I shocked at the incidence of racism everywhere, particularly in housing and employment.  Compared to other provinces where I lived, Alberta landlords and employers were cherry picking the race of their choice with impunity, for unlike the rest of Canada, human rights laws were archaic and unenforced on a variety of political pretexts.

The taxi industry was brutal and stood out as the poster boy for racism anywhere in Canada.  It was a regular occurrence for me to see customers at taxi stands leaning to check the skin color of a cab’s driver before hiring.  They were not infrequently belligerent when I told such customers to take the first cab in the que.

I had my own taxi and as such, would hire drivers.  I was then with Red Top Taxi a white man only company.  Being a Baha’i I was not about to get racist in my hiring practices.

In 1984 I found myself in trouble with the company over my hiring a person of color.  I stood my ground and went to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.  The commission told me that white persons could not complain on behalf of visible minorities and if my religion were an obstacle, I should work for another broker or start my own company.

In other words, it was obvious that the government of the day was unclear of the concept that members of the Ku Klux Klan were not qualified as intake officers for the commission.

Both Calgary’s taxi brokers and local politicians were brazenly racist to the extreme.  One manager said “I’m not prejudiced, I simply hate their guts” while a city councilor walked up to a group of company managers in my presence and blurted “You boys don’t need to worry, we’ll (city council) take care of those turban heads for you.”  It was obvious where council’s in camera debates were heading.

It was clearly obvious that cab drivers—most of whom by the mid 1980’s were visible minorities, had to cope with politicians who were publicly champions of racial equality and in camera racists from the word go.

That generation of political leadership is now a thing of the past, for children of today are racially colorblind.  Kids today are noticeably intolerant of racist attitudes.  It clearly shows that extermination of racism begins with the education the suckling generation and the public in general.

Society can’t even begin to reconcile with oppressed minorities.  Reconciliation simply doesn’t work.  Instead embrace each other’s racial and cultural heritage, for true reconciliation is through embracement and not apologies for past wrongs.

For example, why not instruct school boards to teach the First Nations language of the tribe where the school board is located and name a street or other landmark after DR PETER HENDERSON BRYCE —a champion of native rights.

John bliss©2020

CLICK HERE FOR THE BLACKFOOT’S FULL MENU & LOCATION. IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY CALGARY’S MOST POPULAR RESTAURANT FOR GOOD FOOD AND FUEL.

 

 

TAXI DEREGULATION IN QUEBEC IS NOW HERE

John Bliss

Taxi deregulation has finally come to Quebec with François Bonnardel’s bill 17, An Act Respecting Remunerated Passenger Transportation by Automobile is now law and will take effect on October 20 this year.

The new legislation takes control of regulation away from municipalities and into the hands of the province in an effort to allow industry stakeholders greater flexibility in coping with changing market conditions and new technologies.

While not perfect, it is by every means the best legislation to put in its appearance since the onset of the “Uber crisis” in 2015.

Here is what the legislation does:

1: Municipalities will no longer regulate the industry, instead, it will fall under the jurisprudence of Quebec’s Commission des transports du Québec (Quebec Transportation Commission) who will then oversee all matters relating to the taxi/limousine industry clean across the province.

2: It abolished the use of such terms as brokers and TNCs (Transportation Network Companies such as Uber) and replaces them with the term “transportation system”—a term that embraces all automobile modes of transportation including ridesharing. Transportation systems may have any combination of vehicle types. In other words, a transportation system can have both taxis and ride sharing cars in their fleet and work in tandem with the same dispatcher.

3: Ride sharing vehicles are restricted to receiving trip offers through app dispatching. They are prohibited from prearranged trips and telephone dispatching, which remain the exclusive preserve of traditional top light equipped taxis.

 

4: A driver may, for the sake of customer convenience, pick up a fare outside the city for which he is licensed if he should clear a trip within another city’s jurisdiction. That could conceivably include dispatched trips since Bill 17 makes no such restriction.

 

5: The new bill legalized price competition due to Uber’s persistent undercutting the regulated fares taxis had to comply with.

 

6: The medallion system—a system that limits the number of transferrable taxi permits, is now abolished. And therein lay the primary source of cabby opposition to the bill. After all, who likes seeing a relieving anyone of a $220,000 investment?

 

The government has provided $816 million compensation program for its 7600 medallion holders. It will be financed with a 90 cent per trip tax.

 

That’s average of $107,368.42 per permit holder. François Bonnardel, Quebec’s transport minister says that is the government’s final offer. In my opinion that is not an unreasonable offer.

 

Let us be clear about one thing though. An open entry system of cab licensing system as experienced in other jurisdictions will lead to extreme market fragmentation without a prohibition against fixed stand rents and leasing fees drivers pay to their fleet owners and dispatchers. Uber’s commission system is a much better system provided drivers are protected through collective agreements and employment standards legislation.

 

In fact, Uber’s commission system of stand rents is the primary reason many traditional taxi drivers migrate from taxis to Uber.

Industry stakeholders must overcome the taxi shibboleths of yesteryear and get into the 21st century if they wish to survive.

 

Drivers and their customers both substantially benefit from the new legislation. Here’s hoping other jurisdictions have sufficient wisdom to follow suit.

Click here to see the entire legislation

Oliver Moore asks: “Do Canada’s Taxi Drivers have a place in transportation’s changing future?” : Globe And Mail October 4, 2018

Oliver Moore asks whether or not Canada’s taxi drivers have a place in transportations future?

I say they certainly do once the taxi brokers get out of their box and collaboratively link themselves and their drivers together through an App based Central Dispatch Network (CDN) which links all the drivers and their brokers into a single CDN such as ProCabby as described here in one of their ads shown below.

ProCabby is an Ottawa based CDN that’s presently recruiting drivers and their brokers throughout North America these past two years.  Governments are becoming increasingly interested in such a service, particularly where persons with disabilities are concerned.

Riders sole concern is typically timely service, professionalism and vehicle condition.  Uber’s popularity flows primarily from their ability to recruit driver owners without a transferrable medallion and through their sheer numbers can respond much faster than taxis encumbered with the fixed licensing.

Their ability to recruit driver owners, including cab drivers is the direct result of charging their drivers a fixed percentage commission per trip rather than fixed–and often usuriously high stand rents charged by the brokers.  ProCabby charges 7.1% of fares dispatched by—and only by ProCabby.  All other trips such as flags and trips prearranged without ProCabby’s involvement are not charged a commission.

A CDN such as ProCabby can save a taxi company a ton of money in dispatching costs as the CDN could connect each and every customer with a cab without anyone in the office at all.  Remote call centers can handle all phone business and customer concerns.

Let the cab companies and fleet operators focus on their cars and driver training and let the ProCabby do the dispatching.

 



 


 

CENTRALIZED DISPATCHING — WHAT IS IT ANYWAY?

The reality of taxi service is this: People want a cab to arrive in a timely fashion with a well-motivated and highly professional driver who will take them from point A to B in a timely fashion at a reasonable and affordable cost without incident.

Timely arrival of taxis has been a problem in many cities particularly where persons with  disabilities are concerned.

The solution of course is of course centralizing the dispatch system worldwide.  Can this be done?  And just what is centralized dispatch anyway?

In a word, it works like this:  You order a taxi and the company you called can send you a cab within 15 to 20 minutes.  Fair enough, but why wait so long when another cab from another company just cleared right next door? With a centralized dispatch system in place, the cab next door is the cab that would pick you up.  Quite simple eh? 

Look at it this way:  There are roughly 70 million taxis operating in the world today.  With today’s technology, only one dispatcher is necessary for the entire lot irrespective of the prevailing language spoken where the driver operates.

The international dispatcher would have to be a robot as no human is equal to such a task.

Even the international robot would need other robots located around the world in a variety of jurisdictions—each with their own unique exigencies and laws.  And those robots are already in action—and we even have a name for them: Taxi Brokers or Cab companies near you.

The robotic international taxi broker would link up with all the local taxi brokers world wide and link all these brokers together as if they were a single company.

That means when you call a cab the international dispatcher will send you a taxi with a well-trained professional driver behind the wheel that is physically closest to you irrespective of the company that you called.

Persons with smart phones can now use just one app to connect with a local taxi anywhere in the world when you travel.  The wheelchair bound person will undoubtedly have wait times sharply reduced to acceptable levels and greatly improve their overall quality of life.

That is precisely the kind of service ProCabby is offering to the worldwide public.

ProCabby Ltd. Is an Ottawa based companies that is currently recruiting cab drivers and brokers right now. 

The company was founded only two years ago and has successfully recruited enough drivers in 37 cities here in the United States and Canada.  They are also lobbying local politicians to secure contracts and legislative changes where necessary.

Taxi drivers and brokers sign up now no matter where you live—even if ProCabby is not yet there or have the likes of Uber—a company that dispatches all of its trips with one robot to be found in San Francisco, swallow you up for good.

You can register with them by going to https://procabby.com/ .  If you’re a taxi/Uber customer you can do so too.  And don’t worry if ProCabby is not available where you live.  It’s only a matter of time and your membership will function as a petition when ProCabby approaches taxi companies and government officials.

 

 

Centralized Taxi Dispatching–a godsend for taxi drivers & passengers

The consensus of Calgary’s politicians as witnessed at their Standing Policy Committee (SPC) on Community and Protective Services meeting of last October 3, 2018  appears to be that a taxi centralized dispatching system—a godsend for an industry beleaguered by the invasion of Uber, is on its way to Calgary.

Centralizing taxi dispatch will undoubtedly eliminate horrid response times wheelchair bound travellers experience, and substantially improve the quality of service to the overall general public.

ProCabby Ltd is an Ottawa based company who hopes to fill the bill right here in Calgary and across North America and overseas.

Their model works like this: A customer calls a cab in the usual fashion or with ProCabby’s App itself on their smartphone and the cab that is physically closest to that customer will get the trip regardless the company that cab is affiliated with.

Travellers can use it in any city where ProCabby is available. Right now, they are launching in over 30 North American cities.

The reality is that few customers really care which taxi company transports them. All they really want is a highly professional driver with a clean car showing up in a timely fashion to carry them from A to B at reasonable cost without incident.

Committed and well-trained full-time career drivers are the only people that can provide such service—if local governments will let them.

The taxi industry is one of the most regulated industries in the economy—and it shows with the adnauseous red tape every time a company tries to respond to changing market conditions such as sizing their fleets to match demand. It all too often takes years before the bureaucrats and politicians are willing to resolve such issues while the public suffers.

The result was Uber barging into the market like a bull in a china shop without any regard for local legislation—and bamboozle the public into believing that Uber is their salvation with cheaper fares (Taxi fares are regulated, and Uber deliberately undercuts them), fueled by their lie that taxis are never clean, and the drivers are obnoxious.

The truth is that ProCabby’s presence in any city will substantially improve the quality of service to the public and boost the incomes of drivers and the companies who employ them.
ProCabby offers the public well-trained and professional drivers who will be on time for your trip. I can only wish them the best of luck in all of their endeavours.

Both customers and drivers are urged to register now even if the service is currently unavailable where you live as your registration will function as a petition whenever ProCabby has to deal with local governments and taxi companies.  Click here for more information on their website or e-mail support@procabby.com .  You may phone or text them at 1-833-PROCABY (1-833-776-2229)

For the record, I was the first speaker at Calgary’s SPC meeting of October 3rd so click here to hear my presentation and the committee’s reaction.

TAXI AND BUS DRIVER JOBS ARE SAFE IN A DRIVERLESS AGE

A DRIVERLESS BUS
I spent an hour riding that vehicle and it was great. A great idea overall but with a few drawbacks.

Relax cab driver. You won’t lose your job over driverless taxis. Such vehicles will only make your job easier—and here’s why.

I had just spent an hour riding at the leisurely speed of a horse drawn carriage back and forth between the zoo and the Telus Spark Science Center aboard an ELA 12 passenger bus without any incident whatsoever.

Last week Brennan Doherty of StarMetro Calgary reports that during his ride, the bus stopped aggressively to yield right of way to a squirrel or Magpie—yes these cars can detect an animal or obstacle that small.

The ELA crew and I developed a consensus on various aspects of the driverless car—one of which was that professional drivers need not fear for their jobs—only their job description is likely to change with the type of vehicle he’s operating. Vehicles driving the public around must have a trained attendant on board to keep order and respond intelligently to emergencies and software malfunctions. One never knows when the operator must switch to manual control as airline pilots do.

Current technology in driverless vehicles appear to be inadequate for sharing the road with manual vehicles on high traffic volume and freeway speeds. It appears for the moment at least; such vehicles will have to stay off certain roadways or run during certain hours. Dedicated road and laneways may relieve some of the problems. Technological improvements will undoubtedly change all that. However, the driver still has to be able to take manual control of such vehicles at any time on instantaneous notice.

The ELA I was in runs entirely on four 48-volt batteries that require five hours to recharge. And therein lies another problem with electrically powered cars in general and driverless cars in particular. If the owner can recharge his or her battery at home every night, no problem. But no one can rely on having their car at home in a timely enough fashion for recharging. Gas stations must get involved too.

For starters, batteries have to be designed for very rapid recharge in the space of five minutes or less. And all batteries must have a cross manufacturer design and shape for a rapid battery exchange. The battery has to be capable of rapid removal and installation of a replacement battery on site. The attendant would simply remove the battery for recharge and install a fully charged battery in the space of five minutes.

Highway infrastructure and legislation is required to phase in such vehicles and phase out gasoline and manual cars—an undertaking that will take at least a generation to complete.

One thing is certain in the foregoing debate, is that it will be a very long time before the driver whether privately or commercially owned will disappear from the automobile. There must be a qualified person onboard at all times.

Taxi and bus drivers can relax, there must be someone on board to maintain order and ensure the vehicle is following the correct route.

—John Bliss  the e-book  I NEED A TAXIS PERMISSION TO GO OUT an essay on wheelchair accessible taxis is now available.  To purchase or read click here.

My book “I Need a Taxis Permission To Go Out” is now available.

I have just released my e-book titled I NEED A TAXI’S PERMISSION TO GO OUT–an essay on the livery industry’s treatment of persons with disabilities is now available.

The book is in response to The City of Calgary’s Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services’ meeting of last March 7, 2018, where the issue of on-demand transportation needs of persons with disabilities was discussed at length.

No fewer than 25 persons including myself– each with five minutes to address the committee.  A few had a little more time because of speech impairments.  The result was a meeting that took up an entire day–and accomplished little to the frustration of stakeholders and the councilors themselves.

You can if you like, you can watch that debate by clicking here.  I’m the 10th speaker there.  I also spoke briefly on the aboriginal reconciliation issue.

For details on pricing and delivery dates click Here.

Here’s hoping that visitors to this site can find it in their hearts to purchase the book as it will help pay for the cost of this site and related research.

My next book titled “Taxis the Uber Transportation Survivor” should be ready for release around Christmas.            —-John Bliss